by Jorge Sanchez - 6 months ago
La Paz was declared on december 2014, together with Doha, La Habana, Vigán, Beirut, Kuala Lumpur and Durban, one of the new seven wonders cities in the world. La Paz, founded in the XVI century by the Spanish captain Alonso de Mendoza, is a most original town within a valley in a plateau. It shelters less than 1 million inhabitants, what makes very easy to move around walking, discovering its many historic buildings. On June 2016 I traveled to that city for the third time. I remember that during the first time (in 1986) I was tired because of the altitude (4.100 meters on its highest point) and walked slowly, like in Lhasa, Tibet. But this third time I did not feel the altitude, perhaps because for breakfast I used to drink a tea with coca leaves (what is completely legal). My goal was to buy, two days later, a bus ticket crossing the Death Road, the most dangerous bus journeys in the world, from La Paz to Rurrenabaque. During these two days of stay I had the opportunity to discover new places that I had missed in my two previous journeys. I arrived during the night by bus from Cochabamba, and was lodged in a hostel just in front of the bus station. In the morning I went to the bus station (designed by Gustave Eiffel), to buy my ticket to Rurrenabaque (in Beni province). Then I was free to explore the city. One of the visits that I was suggested to do by some friends was the Coca Market. I boarded a local bus and went there. Many people were buying coca leaves.I noticed that some drivers carried many bags and immediately left to remote villages of Bolivia for its distribution.I went inside the market and sat down in a cafeteria (well, just a table and some wooden chairs) and ordered a tea with coca leaves plus a sweet.I furtively took some pictures inside, but I think that it was forbidden, although nobody reprimanded me.Bolivian people are so nice that it is impossible not to love them. I was never robbed or cheated in Bolivia, while in other south american countries you have to be careful with the many thieves around. But in Bolivia, everywhere I went I made friendship with the bolivianos, and I was treated with deference and sympathy. Many bolivians have family in Spain, working. I revisited the cathedral, the Plaza Murillo, the main churches, the palaces, the huge monument to the captain Alonso de Mendoza, and the main touristic attractions. I wonder why La Paz is not registered in the UNESCO list as a Patrimony of the Humankind, as other south american capital, such as Lima, Quito, or even Brasilia. The third day I left by bus to Rurrenabaque crossing the Road of Death.